The Chance by Robyn Carr

the chance

  • Title:  The Chance
  • Series:  Thunder Point, #4
  • Author:  Robyn Carr
  • Published:  February 2014 – Harlequin MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  With its breathtaking vistas and down-to-earth people, Thunder Point is the perfect place for FBI agent Laine Carrington to recuperate from a gunshot wound and contemplate her future. The locals embraced Laine as one of their own after she risked her life to save a young girl from a dangerous cult. Knowing her wounds go beyond the physical, Laine hopes she’ll fit in for a while and find her true self in a town that feels safe. She may even learn to open her heart to others, something an undercover agent has little time to indulge. 
Eric Gentry is also new to Thunder Point. Although he’s a man with a dark past, he’s determined to put down roots and get to know the daughter he only recently discovered. When Laine and Eric meet, their attraction is obvious to everyone. But while the law enforcement agent and the reformed criminal want to make things work, their differences may run too deep…unless they take a chance on each other and find that deep and mysterious bond that belongs to those who choose love over fear.  (publisher)

My take:  I think fans of the Thunder Point series are going to love this book. I did! We met Laine and Eric in previous books (as secondary characters) and I’m so glad Robyn Carr gave them their own book. Laine is taking stock of her life after a life-changing event and Eric is seeking redemption from his earlier life. In fact, he’s probably already found redemption and is on the path of making people wonder if he was ever that person. What they need to find out is if they can continue to live a new life with each other. What they don’t expect is the knock at the door that will change their life. No spoiler but I have to say Carr really nailed the heartbreaking issues involved with this storyline.

Then we have secondary characters, most of whom we’ve met in earlier books: Al who has worked for Eric several times but never stays very long. He’s a good person so Eric is always glad to have him back. Ray Anne, who becomes Al’s love interest, has been around the block a few times. These two were fun to watch as they fell in love. They’re older (50-60ish) than the usual romance couple. I love that and wish Robyn Carr would write more for that demographic. She’d find lots of fans, I’m certain. This couple’s storyline will arc into the next book. At least it better! My one issue with the book was the abrupt ending. I’m ok that strings weren’t tied in bows as long as those strings find their way into book 5 🙂 There’s also the three brothers who’ve been split up due to their mother’s terminal illness. They are part of Al’s story that will hopefully be broadened in the next book.

Like I mentioned, I loved this installment of the Thunder Point series. I’m really looking forward to the next book.

The Cottage on Juniper Ridge by Sheila Roberts

the cottage on juniper ridge

  • Title:  The Cottage on Juniper Ridge
  • Series:  Life in Icicle Falls, #4
  • Author:  Sheila Roberts
  • Published:  February 2014 – Harlequin MIRA
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  How to Change Your Life…   Can a book change your life? Yes, when it’s Simplicity, Muriel Sterling’s guide to plain living. In fact, it inspires Jen Heath to leave her stressful, over-committed life in Seattle and move to Icicle Falls, where she rents a lovely little cottage on Juniper Ridge. And where she can enjoy simple pleasures—like joining the local book club—and complicated ones, like falling in love with her sexy landlord, Garrett Armstrong. 
Her sister Toni is ready for a change, too. She’s got a teenage daughter who’s constantly texting her friends, a husband who’s more involved with his computer than he is with her, and a son who’s consumed by video games. Toni wants her family to grow closer—to return to a simpler way of life. 
Other women in town, like Stacy Thomas, are also inspired to unload their excess stuff and some of the extra responsibilities they’ve taken on. 
But as they all discover, sometimes life simply happens. It doesn’t always happen simply!

My take:  I think most readers will be able to relate to at least one, if not most, of the characters in Sheila Roberts’ latest novel. Who hasn’t felt overwhelmed, over-committed, or just plain frustrated by the frenetic pace of life at one time or another?

One of Icicle Falls’ own is an author whose recent book is a manual on how to get your life back by simplifying it. The Icicle Falls book club selects the book and the members start to use the advice. Jen, the newest member of the book club, received the book from her sister and moved to Icicle Falls after reading it so she’s already committed to change. Stacy has let her desire for things rule her life to the point that she starts to worry she may be a hoarder. Chita, a single mom of two, has scheduled herself with commitments and responsibilities to the point of near exhaustion. Will simplifying their lives be worth all the effort? You’ll have to read The Cottage on Juniper Ridge to find out.

I enjoyed this book. It is light in tone yet drives the point home that ultimately a simpler life can equal a better life. I would have to agree!

Sunday Post and Buzz Books 2014 Spring/Summer

Book arrivals – linked to Mailbox Monday

Just Destiny (April 26)  balancing it all

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Review:  Almost Perfect by Susan Mallery
  • Review:  Thrown For A Curve by Sugar Jamison

Currently reading:

  • Blue Jeans and Coffee Beans by Joanne DeMaio

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buzz books 2014Buzz Books 2014 Spring/Summer from Publishers Lunch

I mentioned this volume in my Book Arrivals a few weeks ago. This is such a great way to find upcoming books you want to read/feature. Included are excerpts from many Spring and Summer releases in various genres. Some have a link to request the galley at the end of the excerpt.

I’m so glad it was available to bloggers and other reviewers through NetGalley.

The books that caught my eye:

one plus one (july 1) four friends the beekeeper's ball

These titles were found in the fiction category. There are also Debut Fiction; Nonfiction; and Young Adult books.

Happy reading!

Thrown for a Curve by Sugar Jamison

thrown for a curve (feb. 25)

  • Title:  Thrown for a Curve
  • Series:  Perfect Fit, #2
  • Author:  Sugar Jamison
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  February 25, 2014 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Cherri has often wished she were thin and graceful like a ballerina instead of being a six-foot-tall blonde with curves that require serious caution. Surely a charming Irishman like her new boss Colin, with his throaty brogue and to-die-for bod, would never go for someone like Cherri. Unless maybe he’s looking for the exact opposite of a delicate lass?  When Colin hired Cherri to work in his furniture-restoration shop, he had his eyes, first and foremost, on her artistic talents. But now he can’t help but see Cherri for the lush, spirited beauty that she is…and, soon enough, he finds himself mixing business with pleasure. But Cherri turns out to be more vulnerable than she appears. Is she in need of more than Colin can give? Or could it be that a feeling stronger than lust has him thrown for a curve?

My take:  Thrown for a Curve had me with the tall, charming Irishman 🙂 I enjoyed this contemporary romance. Sugar Jamison gives the reader characters you can cheer for and used tried and true themes. Cherri doesn’t realize how beautiful she is and has never felt comfortable with her tall, curvy stature. Colin loves women but doesn’t trust them. His own mother left him when he was a baby and he caught the last woman he loved (and planned to marry) having fun with another guy. Can these two find love and a future? You’ll have fun finding out. I did!

Note:  Although this is the second book in the Perfect Fit series I didn’t feel I was missing anything by not reading the first book. That said, I hope to read Dangerous Curves Ahead soon.

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SugarJamisonPhotoAbout Sugar Jamison:

Sugar Jamison is a Southern belle trapped in a New Yorker’s body. With a love of big hair and high heeled shoes, she spends her day at her very normal day job and night dreaming up sweet and sassy romances. Visit her on the Web at www.sugarjamison.com.

Almost Perfect by Susan Mallery

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  • Title:  Almost Perfect
  • Series:  Fool’s Gold, #2
  • Author:  Susan Mallery
  • Narrator:  Tanya Eby
  • Genre:  Contemporary Romance
  • Published:  June 2010 – Brilliance Audio
  • Source:  Purchased

Synopsis:  Back in high school, Liz Sutton was the girl from the wrong side of the tracks. Then she’d stolen the heart of the most popular boy in town and their secret romance helped her through the worst of times. Until Ethan Hendrix betrayed her and everything they’d ever meant to each other. Devastated and pregnant, Liz left Fool’s Gold, California forever, she thought. Now Liz must return to town and face the man who doesn’t know of their son’s existence. And this time she won’t have the option of making a quick getaway. Ethan and Liz can’t deny their passionate attraction, even after all these years. But will their desire be enough to spark a second chance at love? (publisher)

My take:  Almost Perfect is the second book in the Fool’s Gold series. I’ve read a few books out of order but I’ve found they can stand alone and I always enjoy my visits to Fool’s Gold. I thought Tanya Eby did a fine job with the narration.

I liked Liz. She’s an author who really doesn’t want anything to do with the town where she grew up. When she’s called home to Fool’s Gold for a family matter she drops everything and returns. Once there she deals with more than the family matter – she sees Ethan and stuns him with her news. I found Ethan  not very likable. I get why he’s upset but he was kind of a jerk through most of the book.

Susan Mallery’s story held my interest throughout. I had to see how Liz and Ethan would find their way to a happy ending. Woven into the main story was the thread about Liz’s nieces who’ve been abandoned by a stepmother. They depend on Liz to save them.  Familiar characters from the first book make appearances and, along with a few new ones, set the reader’s expectations for future books.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

barefoot season - audio Angel's Rest Nest. Flight.Sky.

Purchased:

to rise again at a decent hour May 13

Won:

when the cypress whispers (april) the never never sisters (June)

For review:

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Last week on Bookfan:

  • Review:  Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen
  • Review:  The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

Currently reading:

  • Four Friends by Robyn Carr

Happy reading!

The Rosie Project by Graeme Simsion

trp

  • Title:  The Rosie Project
  • Author:  Graeme Simsion
  • Narrator:  Dan O’Grady
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Published:  October 2013 – Simon & Schuster Audio
  • Source:  Purchased

Synopsis:  MEET DON TILLMAN, a brilliant yet socially challenged professor of genetics, who’s decided it’s time he found a wife. And so, in the orderly, evidence-based manner with which Don approaches all things, he designs the Wife Project to find his perfect partner: a sixteen-page, scientifically valid survey to filter out the drinkers, the smokers, the late arrivers. 

Rosie Jarman is all these things. She also is strangely beguiling, fiery, and intelligent. And while Don quickly disqualifies her as a candidate for the Wife Project, as a DNA expert Don is particularly suited to help Rosie on her own quest: identifying her biological father. When an unlikely relationship develops as they collaborate on the Father Project, Don is forced to confront the spontaneous whirlwind that is Rosie—and the realization that, despite your best scientific efforts, you don’t find love, it finds you.  (publisher)

My brief take:  The Rosie Project is Graeme Simsion’s charming novel about a socially awkward professor on the search for the perfect wife. When he meets Rosie he quickly determines she’ll not be a candidate for the Wife Project. These two people seem about as far apart on the compatible scale as two people could be so they don’t even think about a romantic involvement. That made their story even more enjoyable. It’s a bit of a comedy of errors at times that had me laughing as I listened. To that point – I’m glad I listened to the audiobook. Dan O’Grady did a great job voicing the various characters. His narration added to my enjoyment of the novel. Recommended.

Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

lost lake

  • Title:  Lost Lake
  • Author:  Sarah Addison Allen
  • Genre:  Fiction; Magical Realism
  • Published:  January 2014 – St. Martin’s Press
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Lost Lake is where Kate Pheris spent her last best summer at the age of twelve, before she learned of loneliness, and heartbreak, and loss. Now she’s all too familiar with those things, but she knows about hope too, thanks to her resilient daughter Devin, and her own willingness to start moving forward. Perhaps at Lost Lake her little girl can cling to her own childhood for just a little longer… and maybe Kate herself can rediscover something that slipped through her fingers so long ago. One after another, people find their way to Lost Lake, looking for something that they weren’t sure they needed in the first place: love, closure, a second chance, peace, a mystery solved, a heart mended. Can they find what they need before it’s too late?  (publisher)

My take:  I really liked this story about Lost Lake and the people who’ve had a connection to it over the years. They are people who’ve saved or been saved, loved and lost. They help each other realize they can find the ending they’ve hoped for instead of changing the ending to something more practical.

In her usual way, Sarah Addison Allen weaves a magical thread through her story. This time its in the form of an alligator that leaves clues for Devin, the young daughter of Kate. Devin reminds her mother of the innocence and hopefulness of her own youth. Kate’s happiest memories of her time spent at Lost Lake. Could this be the place for Devin and Kate to begin a new life?

Lost Lake is filled with quirky characters who add color and subtle depth to the story. I enjoyed them all and wasn’t ready to say goodbye as I turned the last page. Recommended to fans of Sarah Addison Allen and Southern fiction with a touch of magical realism.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

willowleaf lane  one plus one (july 1)

Last week on Bookfan:

  • Review:  That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay
  • Review:  Still Life With Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

Currently reading:

  • The Rosie Project by  Graeme Simsion  (audio)

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Once again my blogiversary slipped my mind. You know that saying “Of all the things I’ve lost, I miss my mind the most” – yeah, that’s me. Tuesday was my Sixth Blogiversary. I can’t believe it. I didn’t expect that I would still be blogging all these years later but here I am. I guess when you love to read it’s hard not to tell people about the books you read. Blogging about books is a fantastic hobby for a book lover and I plan to continue as long as it remains a fun hobby. Thank you all for visiting. I appreciate your comments, recommendations, and friendship. Yes, I consider you all friends 🙂  I look forward to another year of blogging about wonderful books.

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The best news of the week is the arrival of our granddaughter! Maggie was born Friday, February 7. We’re thrilled to finally meet her.

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Happy reading!

Still Life with Bread Crumbs by Anna Quindlen

Vine- Still Life With Bread Crumbs

  • Title:  Still Life with Bread Crumbs
  • Author:  Anna Quindlen
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Published:  January 2014 – Random House
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  Still Life with Bread Crumbs begins with an imagined gunshot and ends with a new tin roof. Between the two is a wry and knowing portrait of Rebecca Winter, a photographer whose work made her an unlikely heroine for many women. Her career is now descendent, her bank balance shaky, and she has fled the city for the middle of nowhere. There she discovers, in a tree stand with a roofer named Jim Bates, that what she sees through a camera lens is not all there is to life.

My take:  Rebecca Winter, famous for a serendipitous photo series years earlier, recently won a prize for her photography that generally means she’s “old news” in the art world. She now rents out her New York City apartment and lives in a tiny and dilapidated cottage in the woods so that she can afford to pay her father’s rent, her mother’s nursing home bills and occasionally send her son a check.

Rebecca hears animals in her roof above her bed every night and one day meets Jim Bates, a roofer several years her junior. He takes care of the animal issue and eventually becomes a friend. They are charmingly awkward around each other.

As Rebecca hikes the woods she discovers what look like memorials – the kind you’d see along the highway. These are white crosses with mementos of a girl’s youth. Rebecca photographs them not knowing their actual meaning and origins – and the result is a new photography show. What will happen when she learns the truth behind the photos?

I loved this book and I loved Rebecca. She needed to step away from her life to find out if that was the life she wanted to define her – to find out if there might be more in store for her. The first half of the novel quietly built up to the point where I couldn’t stop reading. The characters are beautifully developed and achingly true. I know I’ll be thinking about Tad and Sarah and Jim and Rebecca for a while.

True Life with Bread Crumbs would be a wonderful selection for book groups.

That Part Was True by Deborah McKinlay

that part was true

  • Title:  That Part Was True: A Novel
  • Author:  Deborah McKinlay
  • Genre:  Fiction
  • Published:  February 2014 – Grand Central Publishing
  • Source:  Publisher

Synopsis:  When Eve Petworth writes to Jackson Cooper to praise a scene in one of his books, they discover a mutual love of cookery and food. Their friendship blossoms against the backdrop of Jackson’s colorful, but ultimately unsatisfying, love-life and Eve’s tense relationship with her soon-to-be married daughter. As each of them offers, from behind the veils of semi-anonymity and distance, wise and increasingly affectionate counsel to the other, they both begin to confront their problems and plan a celebratory meeting in Paris–a meeting that Eve fears can never happen.

My take:  Early on in my reading of this slim novel I wondered where it all was going and how would it end. I mention that because I found the end to be quite satisfying even though it was rather unexpected.

Being in the same age group (50ish) I could relate a bit to both Jack and Eve. That made the reading all the more enjoyable. Jack is grappling with why he can’t get a relationship right. Eve is dealing with her deep shyness (and something bordering on agoraphobia) that has shown itself in public recently leading to panic attacks.

I loved how the two counseled each other as they discussed cooking in their brief letters. I smiled often while reading the letters.

I’m not sure what more to reveal except to say that I’m glad I read That Part Was True. For readers who enjoy recipes included in novels like this, there are a few.

Sunday Post

Book arrivals:

buzz books 2014  Mimi Malloy, At Last  blossom street brides (vine)

Review books

three wishes  thursdays in the park

Purchased:

Last week on Bookfan:

Currently reading:

  • Lost Lake by Sarah Addison Allen

Happy reading!